It is my first full day here at Sunshine Orchards.
The bell rings five minutes before worship begins - it’s an early hour… 5:25 am.
Many feet are hurrying to the chapel… Everyone takes off their shoes before walking up the steps to go inside. I’ve never seen so many sandals and flip-flops at the same time and place before.
We all sit cross-legged on the hard wood floor. (I hope I get more accustomed to the hardness soon.) There are so many children pressed into the room. I sit with the girls on the right side of the room.
Soon many young voices are singing with gusto. These kids really seem to enjoy singing. I enjoy listening, but I only wish I could understand it all.
Once in a while I glance across the room and catch eyes with someone. We share a smile. I like these kids already. :) They are probably wondering what this new tharamu (teacher) is like.
Later after a breakfast of potato curry, rice, & vivid pink dragon fruit, we all meet in the chapel again for the church service. The kids are shy whenever they go up front and giggle when they make a mistake. Even though the kids have been through so much, they really seem to enjoy life - though it’s simple.
In the middle of the mission story, we hear a gecko loudly interrupting, “Uh-uh, uh-uh… uh-uh.” We all smile and laugh quietly.
The sermon is about the “good news” about hell. The children seem to understand and take it all in. I’m glad it’s in English and then translated to Karen so I could understand it too.
For Sabbath School, the children divide into their different grades. I join the group going across the road to the 9th & 10th grade classroom. Sabrina shares about the prodigal son who wanted his inheritance right away. She told how he wasted it all and even had to feed dirty pigs.
He was drawn back by his father’s never-ending love for him. The father longed for him to come back. Our Savior longs for us to come to Him. His love is so deep and everlasting.
Lunch consists of rice, a tofu curry, and pad thai noodles. It is one of my favorite meals so far.
The afternoon is free, so we decide to drive up the narrow, curvy road through the mountains to a waterfall. I’m amazed at how many eager girls fit into the back of the truck. On the way their voices fill the air with energetic singing. I love to hear the passion and joy in their songs.
Around the curve there is a breath-taking view of the towering mountains contrasting with the true blue sky above and the living green in the valley below.
The waterfall is a rushing slide that splashes into a bubbling pool at the bottom. I join the happy, screaming girls as we take turns sliding down the waterfall into the cool pool below. It’s fun, even though it’s super cold.
The girls love having their pictures taken with us golawahs (white foreigners). They take turns standing by us and smiling for the picture.
We then decide to travel up to a bigger waterfall. The girls are delighted! After driving a little farther up the mountain, we have to walk through the jungle, across a bamboo bridge, over big rocks, and through a few trickling creeks to get there.
This waterfall is much bigger than the last one. It is beautiful! The water is spraying us with a gentle mist. I stand in awe and watch it for a moment with my feet in the cool water. I’m so thankful for nature…
We hurry back for AY, which is another enjoyable gathering in the chapel. During the meeting, sweet little Juju sits in my lap. Her tiny hands play with my watch. Every once in a while she looks up at me and giggles and smiles. She didn’t take long to warm up to me.
After supper at the Steck’s house, we help with a few dishes and then check to see if the internet is working. Thankfully it is, so I am able to talk to my siblings all the way back in America.
We are tired after a long day. It was full of many new experiences. Even though I’m sore from sitting on the hard floor for so long, I’m thankful I’m here. I do miss home, but I’m glad to be a teacher at Sunshine Orchards…